Ashraf Ghani (centre) and other officials attend the last day of loya jirga meeting in Kabul on Friday. Associated Press
A fresh round of talks between the US and the Taliban is to begin in Qatar, just days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is hoping for an Afghan peace agreement before Sept.1.
President Ashraf Ghani hopes to showcase unity at the four-day meeting — known as Loya Jirga — that brings together politicians, tribal elders and others.
The US special peace envoy for Afghanistan should stop calling on Taliban militants to lay down their arms and convince the United States to end the use of force instead, the Taliban said on Friday.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Mark Esper will meet their Indian counterparts for strategic and security talks on Tuesday, after which Pompeo will travel on to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia.
The number of deaths over 24 hours has remained broadly stable since the beginning of autumn, with between 700 and 800. On Saturday the US recorded 906 deaths, the Johns Hopkins tracker showed.
The World Health Organization has warned of an "exponential" rise in infections threatening health systems' ability to cope with a second wave of the pandemic, testing many nations that appeared to have the virus under control earlier this year.